This seasonal dunkelweizen from Muskoka Brewery Inc. in Bracebridge, Ontario is cola brown in colour, with a deep ruby tone visible when held towards light. It pours with a small and rocky tan cap that doesn’t tend to stay around very long, though a steady stream of bubbles appeared at the top of my glass. The smell of Winter Weiss is an inviting blend of chocolate, stone fruit and plantain that reminds me of warm fruitcake, with notes of clove and evergreen punctuating the beer’s wintry feeling.
Winter Weiss has a robust taste, with flavours of dark toffee and stone fruit at the fore over a biscuit-like malt base. A sharp note of herbal liqueur and mild bitterness keep things from getting too sweet and the ale finishes dry, while hints of clove and lemon peel tend to linger on my palate. Though Winter Weiss is fairly light-bodied, there is a noticeable viscosity and some earthiness to the mouthfeel.
This English pale ale from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a beautiful, chill hazed ruby colour with a small tan head that evaporates quickly, leaving a stringy collar and very little lace. The smell of Woodworth and Edwards Honey Bee’lixer is so thick with nectar that it takes on a caramel hard candy tone reminiscent of liqueur. Notes of dark plum and chocolate malt contribute to an overall warmth.
Woodworth and Edwards Honey Bee’lixer has rich flavours of roasted grains, bread, plum, chocolate and of course, fresh honey. There is a soft bitter bite that is just enough to strike a balance with the sweet malt base of this full-bodied and grainy ale. Despite the amount of honey used in this mildly carbonated brew, it manages not to feel too syrupy and a subtle pop of yeast comes forth on the tongue. The finish has a certain booziness to it that leads to an earthy and grainy aftertaste.
Wuchak Black from Kichesippi Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours dark brown with crimson tinges visible when held towards the light and a frothy, tan-coloured head that leaves spotty lacing and settles a thin collar. This Cascadian Dark Ale (aka Black IPA) has a rich roasted malt character on the nose. Coffee, cigar, wood and chocolate tones are accented my piny hops and red berry juice.
The taste of Wuchak Black goes hand-in-hand with its smell. Deep, dark chocolate and coffee flavours are anchored by an assertive bitterness, with complimentary notes of lemon rind, pepper and grainy biscuit. The mouthfeel is fairly thick, grainy and oily, the carbonation is on the low side and a persistent collar creates a smooth creaminess that helps ease the ale down. Coffee, pepper and a lingering, lemony bitterness permeate the aftertaste.
Propeller Revolution from The John Allen Brewing Company Limited in Halifax, Nova Scotia is an opaque black with a moderate sized, frothy tan head that is retained as collared film and leaves some thick lace. This Russian Imperial Stout carries strong pine oil and spruce notes in its smell. Behind them are aromas of date, red berry, raisin, coffee and chocolate.
The taste of Propeller Revolution with dark roasted malts and has an assertive bitterness. The woodsy character also remains, backed by coffee and chocolate flavours. The stout is full bodied and grainy, with a fairly mild carbonation and a tangible oiliness. There is a tart berry note in the finish and the bitter aftertaste has a roasted coffee tone.
This seasonal American imperial stout from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is opaque black with a creamy beige head that sticks around as a thick collar and leaves spotty lacing behind. Tempest Imperial Stout has aromas of roasted grains, coffee, chocolate, wood and dark fruit, as well as a peppery bite.
The taste of Tempest Imperial Stout follows suit, with roasted grains in the forefront and accents of dark chocolate coffee. A pronounced fruit flavour has a tart black cherry tone that transitions to a sharply bitter finish. The stout is grainy, earthy and weighs heavily on the tongue. A mild creaminess and oiliness eases the beer down and its hefty ABV is thoroughly masked by the rich flavours, which blend and linger in the aftertaste.